Neuroscientist Matthew Larkum is the recipient of a European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant for his research project “Dendro-somatic coupling and global neuronal signalling”. His research group at the Institute of Biology of Humboldt-Universität will look at the basis of anesthesia in the brains of mammals, including humans. To that end, it will receive 2.5 million euros in funding over a five-year period.
Matthew Larkum has been a professor at Humboldt-Universität since 2011. His research focuses on understanding the cerebral cortex. Anesthesia is arguably one of mankind’s greatest discoveries. But although it has been used as a medical procedure for nearly two centuries, it is still not entirely clear how it works. Researchers still do not understand exactly how a substance can selectively turn off consciousness while leaving normal nervous system function intact. Solving this problem will not only be a tremendous help in understanding and improving anesthesia, but also promises to provide insights into consciousness itself - one of the last frontiers of neuroscience.